By: Expert Author Troy Jones, M.B.A., Owner/Administrator, At Home Assisted Living Services, Anderson IN

Reduce Hospital Readmission RatesHome care for patients released from the hospital following a stroke, will provide numerous benefits for the client and their family. Home care companions can play a prominent role in the recovery process, which will promote a positive outcome. The effects of a stroke depend on the amount of brain damage. The goal following a stroke is always to regain lost skills and functions. Some people are able to return to their normal life and go back to work. Other people may have permanent impairments, and the home care companion will plan care that will help the patient to regain as many skills as possible.

A home care companion will organize other caregivers to provide a team effort to quickly begin the patient’s recovery process. Almost all stroke patients require physical therapy, and it is usually started immediately.

Safety is an important consideration for a stroke patient. If a patient has weakness or paralysis on one side of their body, then some type of medical equipment will be necessary. This may be a wheel chair, a walker or a cane. Sometimes doorways must be widened for a wheelchair or the doorway itself may need to be removed. When someone is unsteady in their gait tripping hazards must be removed, such as throw rugs and electrical cords. Sometimes furniture must be re-arranged. The patient should always wear non-skid shoes. A home health companion will do a full safety assessment of the patient’s home.

Bath room safety is another important issue. A bathtub chair, bench or rails for the bathtub and toilet may be necessary.

Some patients may have difficulty swallowing.  In this case, food must be cut in small bite size pieces or in some case pureed. Nutrition is important, so the home health care companion will assist the patient with food choices that are also nutritious.

The home care companion may also assist with other activities, which include:

  • Assisting with medication reminders
  • Providing help with activities of daily living
  • Providing transportation to the doctor or doing other errands
  • Providing the patient with emotional support
  • Organizing the daily routines, which involve other caregivers, such as physical therapists

Some stroke patients are unable to speak clearly or not at all following a stroke. A speech therapist is necessary and the home care companion will assist the patients in effect ways to communicate. They will provide the patient with emotional support for this frustrating stroke complication.

Incontinence may also be a problem. There are many products available for a patient with this problem. Comfort is another aspect of patient care. The home health care companion may suggest gel seat cushions, mattresses and bed wedges to assist in positioning the patient. Preventing skin breakdown by using correct body alignment is another priority. The home health companion will fully develop a plan of recovery that provides the best care for the patient.